How to Develop a Questionnaire for Your Research Paper: 10 Steps

by Heather Cummins

Students write different academic assignments. Each has its specific purpose and requirements, which must be obligatorily fulfilled. Thus, a research paper is one of the most complex scientific projects. A researcher ought to choose a relevant problem, research and analyze it. Afterward, he/she must provide a solution. One of the demands is to gather information via a questionnaire. Some students fail and contact professional essay writing services e.g. CustomWritings designed to help students with their assignments. However, our article explains how to do that on your own.

Never Step Aside Your Topic

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Every assignment has a central idea, which is called a topic. A research paper is no exception and you should select a meaningful topic. Your questionnaire is fully dependent on it. You won’t know what questions to ask and what strategy to choose if you don’t know the central idea. It may be broken into smaller parts. Nevertheless, you should always stick to it. All your questions must be fully related to your topic.

Identify the Objective of Your Questionnaire

After you select the topic, you may set a concrete objective. You should ask yourself what you want to receive from this survey. Decide what your research paper studies and why it may become helpful.

Select the Type(s) of Your Questions

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The next step is to select the specification of your questions. There are multiple types and each has its peculiarities. For example, dichotomous questions are aimed at receiving answers “yes” and “no”. Multiple choice questions provide three and more options. Therefore, this step is important too. There are the following types of questions:

  • Dichotomous question;
  • Multiple choice questions;
  • Open-ended questions;
  • Rating scale questions;
  • Rank-order (or ordinal) scale questions.

When you select the types, you should develop your questionnaire. They must be clear, concise, and logical. Ask one question at a time to give another person some time to think it over. Avoid too complex, as well as too personal (delicate) questions. Decide whether to include such forms of answers as “I don’t know” or “Not applicable to me.” Always put the most important part of your question in the beginning.

Choose a Reasonable Limit of Your Questions

Some researchers ask too lengthy questions and it distracts the attention of the recipient. The others choose too short questions and so, the answers aren’t complete. You ought to find the middle ground. Choose questions that are neither too broad nor too short.

Determine the Audience

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It’s important to know your audience. You write a research paper to solve a certain problem and thus, help other people. As you write for others, make sure you can interest them with your writing. You need to gather evidence asking them questions and so, learn them as closely as you can to choose the most effective strategy. Decide what their age, nationality, mentality, gender must be. They directly affect the types of questions you intend to put. Try to understand what they need from you and how to define the truth.

Ensure Privacy

Some people are anxious about questioning. They may be afraid that somebody else will find out their answers. This rule is important when you ask delicate questions. Accordingly, undertake the necessary measures for the protection of their private data. Of course, you should give an honest promise to never reveal any facts about them. Otherwise, you won’t get the required responses.

Writing and Gathering Evidence

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After you’re through with the preparations, begin to write. Simultaneously, make instant notes not to miss anything vital. Firstly, introduce yourself. Secondly, explain the purpose of your survey. Tell:

  • Why you conduct it;
  • How can it help your project and other people;
  • How many questions does it contain;
  • Promise the anonymity (if necessary);
  • Explain how to answer your questions;
  • Mention what will happen to the collected data;
  • Set a time limitation, etc.

In other words, you should make other people feel convenient and safe. Be organized and make your survey look professional. Thus, people will trust you and would like to answer with more enthusiasm and honesty.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to conduct a perfect questionnaire from the first try. This statement is especially true if you aren’t experienced at all. Therefore, we recommend conducting a pilot survey or study. You may ask your friends and family members to pass it. Afterward, ask them to provide honest feedback. They should say what was excellent and what moments need some improvements. Accept their critic, take notes, and undertake the necessary measures to improve your survey. Perhaps you should read several samples about questionnaires to understand it better.

Memorize these recommendations because they are universal. They perfectly suit any academic discipline and different purposes of a research paper. Use them wisely and you’ll definitely create a great questionnaire to gather dependable evidence for your academic project.

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